Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

Evergreen Tom Watson driven by war heroes

Tom Watson
SANDWICH, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland lifts the Claret Jug aloft following his victory at the end of the final round of The 140th Open Championship at Royal St George's on July 17, 2011 in Sandwich, England. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Darren Clarke with Alison Campbell. 'Everything is fantastic at the moment,' he says

Tom Watson finished another memorable Open with a 72 yesterday and then talked about a moving visit to battlefields in France before he travelled to Sandwich.

It included Pointe du Hoc, where Allied forces came under attack from Germans on the clifftop above them.

"It was like me playing Phil Mickelson on this golf course," he said.

"Talk about a disadvantage. And to see the 9,000-plus marble crosses (at Omaha Beach) is a striking reminder of what the human condition can do.

"I was very emotional seeing that. It certainly has that effect on you."

Watson, who holed-in-one during his second round and held the early clubhouse lead during the third round, was playing his 34th Open thanks to his second place at Turnberry in 2009.

That prompted a change in the championship rules to allow former winners to continue beyond their 60th birthday if they manage a top 10 finish and the five-times champion plans to be at Lytham next July - "if everything is OK with me."

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